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  Chapter Three  

   “You still working on that Chronic Fatigue stuff?” Ed asked, breaking the silence.

     “Yeah, I think I’m getting obsessed with it. There’s something wrong there. I can feel it. Something is nagging me and I won’t be happy until I figure it out.  Take what I just finished learning. The CDC says CFS has no biological markers and yet Social Security uses biological markers to determine disability.”

    “What’s the CDC doing with its hand in it, anyway? I thought the CDC handled things like infectious outbreaks. If they say there are no biological markers, why are they the ones involved?”

    “You know, that’s a really good point, Ed,” Alistair said, jumping up to get her laptop again. She returned and sat down on the wicker loveseat next to Ed.

          She typed in “CDC+CFS.”

“It’s in the Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology!” Alistair exclaimed, staring at the page.

     “I’ve been doing this all of five minutes and I’m already getting a bad feeling,” Ed said.  “A disease with no biomarkers that’s a high consequence pathogen? That makes no sense. "


Chapter 18

    By Thursday evening, the mood of the villagers was sour. They were disgruntled and openly questioning the soundness of the plan. Discussions were underway about what else could be done and whether contacting government officials might be a better way to go. There was talk of public meetings and of bus trips to Washington. An argument broke out in Alistair’s driveway between two men on Tom’s team, who began pushing each other, almost coming to blows before Ed and Danny moved in to break it up. A loud discussion then took place about whether another night in the woods was worth the effort. Virginia Hopkins settled the issue.

          “Stop it everybody!” she shouted when she arrived on the scene. “Remember who the enemy is here. There are millions of people in this country who are going through what my daughter went through and nobody is doing anything about it. If we don’t stop this, who will? How many more people have to get sick before somebody does something? Do we have to turn into what Africa is with AIDS? So we need proof! Do you understand? We have no proof and without it we can't convince people what's going on in this country. Without proof, we got nothing. 

     Now we all committed to four or five nights out here,” she continued, calming down. “If you don’t want to keep to that, then go home. Go ahead, go home. But I’m staying put and I’m going to see this through. And if this doesn’t work, I’m going to try something else because I’m telling you right now, I’m not gonna let these people get away with hurting my daughter—or anybody else’s child for that matter. And this isn’t just about this town. This is happening all over the country while doctors are scoffing at patients and the CDC is blaming their parents, calling them—calling me—a child abuser. No sir, not me, I’m not putting up with this. Now the sun is going down so either get back out to your posts or go on home. If those greedy bastards don’t come by in another night or two, then we’ll figure out a new plan.  But I ain’t giving up. She turned her back on the crowd that was now gathered and walked back to the house.